Monday, December 29, 2014

A Treatise on Fenzing ...

It's true.
I fenze now. That is to say,  I teach online classes through Fenzi Dog Sport Academy.

I fenze in the morning, at noon and at night. It's pretty consuming this fenzing stuff. If I'm not responding to student's homework assignments. thoughts or questions I am reading, researching, hunting for notes I've made from conferences and workshops years ago or I'm writing lectures, proofreading lectures, and differentiating lectures.

If I'm not doing any of that actively some fenzing is happening in the inner recesses of my brain. My learning makes me sure I know that even when I am not aware. In my non-dog, non-animal life (you probably didn't even know I had one of those did you?) I have done years, decades actually,  of work with teachers and students around a wide range of things including anxiety reduction, goal setting, planning,  changing negative patterns, brain research as it applies to those topics and improving teaching skills. Guess what? All of that applies to the horse and dog world if horses and dogs are in work or being shown or trained.

There are times our brain is our worst partner. And often that response from our brain is a learned response so simply wishing we didn't think that way is going to change exactly nothing. We have to unlearn and relearn healthier approaches. And guess what? It looks like not only am I successful in teaching that kind of thing in a classroom setting. My online students are also seeing success already. Just 5 weeks into the first ever class of it's kind at Fenzi Dog Sport Academy they are self reporting happy runs, relaxed drives to events, and reaching stepping stones in planning and goals.

I am as proud of them as I am of my physical, sitting in a desk, playing in a hall, working in an arena, in front of me students. Fenzing is intense work on both sides of the screen. Students have to make a commitment to be proactive and ask the questions, try the homework so they can ask the questions, not be shy about sharing the blips as well as the successes. They have to be strong self advocates to make the most of the class it seems. And instructors? Well they have to be passionate about their subject. Care about their students enough to be gentle if an assignment is off track (so so hard online sometimes - I am by nature very direct - luckily for me and my students usually kind and direct) Able to redirect and re-engage when things go amuk. A little bit of mind reading also helps.

One challenge I have is my natural brevity. By nature and experience I believe in letting people work things out themselves. So my comments often add a bit, make a suggestion but aren't not nearly the length the student's reflections are. I hope they don't feel ripped off- I am happy to answer with more detail - but I don't want to bore anybody either. Always this balance that is life. The other challenge for me is the bronze level students. They audit the course and don't participate but I want to know! Are they having the same success as the golds? Do they have questions they wish they could ask? Am I meeting their needs? Sigh, every once in awhile a little bit of feedback gets to me and I am grateful for it (and thrilled by how positive it is) but I wish there were more silvers and more general questions. Our class discussion forum is fun  - and I'm grateful to those who participate there as well as in their own thread. Fenzi school is a time suck no matter which side of the screen you are on it seems. When I'm a gold student I can rarely keep up with my own work let alone other threads. As an instructor I keep up with my students (barely sometimes) but there is so much more I want to do. Sigh. Reality check.

I love fenzing though. It's like having 14 in depth private lessons on the go at any time. Fourteen! No wonder I fenze morning, noon and night! On both sides of the screen I love being able to fenze when it suits me. Online learning is not for everyone. And I truly don't believe it replaces face to face interactions but the right course at the right time is SO MUCH GOOD.

I was very very honoured to be asked to teach for Denise Fenzi. The moment I first read her blog and thought OH MY someone, in a different sport mind you, but SOMEONE thinks like me ... it was eye opening, affirming and gave me strength and courage to stick to my guns, (Which, given Sally, is likely either a very good, or bad, thing) It was this specific blog that made me go AHHHH . I too had read Control Unleashed and thought - ahhh so good, thanks for clarifying my thinking (Shaping Success had the same effect in many ways - from a different direction). When Denise asked me my background in the "head stuff" and how I connected it all  in person for my students I realized fenzing it would be very possible. We talked about doing a silver only version and it's a possibility for some courses  going forward but for this introductory course doing it in sync with the other classes has worked beautifully. I am very grateful to my golds for giving their all to making it work for them! And to Denise of course for making it possible to get my message out there!!

heart full of

as always!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Why lie ?

Huge question - way beyond the scope of this little blog. Here is a little dog to look at while I think about what I mean,

Let me try again

Why do we lie to ourselves about our dogs and our training?

I hear the lies pretty frequently

My dog isn't fat (or thin)
My dog is fit
My dog is happy
My dog isn't stressed
My dog is friendly - that's why they look out of control
My dog isn't in pain
My dog doesn't mind the kids lying on her

whatever - the impact on me is always the same


Is it our human spirit that makes us believe the best about the things we love?
Do we hate to admit to weakness so we just don't?

The one currently making me reflect on this is concept is the notion that a dog bolting around a ring out of control is happy, having fun and wants to be doing those behaviours. Seriously. I don't get it.

Not at all. Sally was wild as a young dog at trials and what information I took from that was she didn't have enough information to be trialing. I tested it occasionally and even qed here and there - but our tests were few and far between and I never left the ring after a 50 fault (or more) run thinking "well at least she had fun". Adding an obstacle or two or hitting the wrong end of a tunnel is NOT what I am referring to. What I mean are those runs where the dog opts out. Only occasionally, and by mistake it seems, do elements of the requisite course happen.

If your dog is stressed, unhappy running a full course, leaving you often on course, (or the flip side- walking a course at snail speed) please be honest with yourself. Lie all you want to anybody else but in your heart accept that your dog is expressing stress in a keyed up over threshold way that works for them.  Develop a plan to work on it. Test your plan but stop with the glittery excuses and understand that this too,with the right help and approach, will pass.

Honesty really is the best policy.

Monday, December 01, 2014

The Weather Outside is Frightful ...Let Us Learn, Let Us Learn, Let us Learn

I am a teacher.

I am a teacher because I love learning.

I sure didn't love school as a student. (Let me be honest - there are things about the institution of school I am not to fond of as an educator either.)

DABAD topic of the day:  Continuing Education
tons of blogs way better than this on this topic at the link here

and onwards we will go

My biggest single thought on this? DO IT! Never stop learning.
Know your dog area well? Super cool - great for you -  go find something else to learn.

How should you learn it?

Take in person classes - find somebody positive, somebody fun, somebody you want to learn from.

Take online classes - my go to academy is Fenzi Academy -  the next session of classes actually starts today - GO SIGN UP

Join an online community - FB has some neat training groups, Susan Garrett is opening her Handling 360 course this week, there are cool yahoo groups so many - find your niche - meet some like minded folks interested in what you want to learn

READ - lots ... ebook, print book, articles ... whatever turns your crank

My mind is on the mind game stuff at the moment so here are a few suggestions:

 Not Just About the Ribbons
Trials Without Tribulations (at $15 it's a GREAT ebook buy at the moment)
something by Lanny Bassham

talk about your learning ...share your wisdom.. find something new to do

Brody and I just played through the list of Novice Tricks ... at the age of 13.5 Brody knew way more tricks than needed to send off for a title! Little superstar ... now that's motivated me to actually train some new tricks to Sally and try Dora with a few too

Short - sweet, and to the point huh? Busy busy days around here ;)  more soon!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

it just makes my heart hurt ...

I err on the side of caution. This I know. I laugh at myself sometimes.

"I'd love to enter the trial in a month but Sally was sore a year ago at that time so I won't."

"I volunteered to work and Sally will be too stiff if she sits in a crate for the day - even if it would be after her classes"

"Oh Harri horse looks a little stiff, we'll go for a walking hack instead of the ring work we had planned."

"Oh you didn't leap up when I put my shoes on, perhaps you aren't in the right head space to learn something new - lets reinforce what you do know"

and so on ...

That said I am pretty sure my animal gang would pick playing  training here over some of the other options. Many years of listening when I see an animal in discomfort have left me with some doozy statements that rattle around my head at times.

"He's old, I want to show. What if he is never sound again?"

"She's not really lame, just uncomfortable"

"Do you think it's painful? Couldn't it just be mechanical?" (and the answer to that - no matter the species in sudden onset change of gait is a BIG RESOUNDING NO)

and so on and so on ... right down to "I can't see it" (umm playing ostrich helps no one here)

I am sorry if it was the only show you had planned. I'm upset for you if it is the only show you can get to in two months. I understand the devastation of withdrawing if it's a title on the line. Really, truly, I am and I do.

Seriously though there are so many reasons to respect what your animal's body is saying and NOT trial or show if you suspect or see pain or discomfort anywhere.
1. Your animal partner plays the competitive version of your sport for you. They would have just as much fun playing at home when conditions were perfect and you were in the best mood. We have a HUGE responsibility to consider their interests. And I'm going to take that further and add ahead of our own. That's right. We control what we do as a team therefore the onus is on us to make the experience as positive, stress free and painless as possible for the animal half of the team. (If we can do it for us too all the better!) They TRUST you to make the right call for them.
2. You may make things much much worse by pushing through it, whatever "it" is. That is not OK. (be grateful that's as much as I'm saying on this one)
3. If your animal is painful they cannot be themselves. Maybe they will be worse; maybe they will be better but either way it's not a true testament to the state of your partnership.
4. People who are new to a sport, or young, are looking around and up to everybody. What kind of example does it set if you will show a sore or sick friend? Don't be bitching to me about them or anybody else when they bring their dog with worms or that was exposed to kennel cough, or their lame horse to the next show if you are demonstrating less egregious examples of trialing animals not in top form.

I had a nice conclusion written up - I erased it to leave you this thought. If it feels at all wrong, At all like you are pushing it, if somebody else can see your dog or horse is not Quite Right if you get that sinking oh dear feeling .. even if things are  not absolutely clearly WRONG please let them stay home and recover well and wholly. Please. You make my heart hurt when you don't.

At the very least think about it.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Stress and Nerves

In an A HA moment of epic proportions  I may have tripped across a key to success (for dog sports and beyond) that I have never articulated before even as I live it. My theory? People who are holistic in their approach - seeing the interconnections between play, training and competing in dog land are better able to set goals that are achievable and make sense in terms of team development and will therefore be better able to be successful in the long run. How's that as a run on sentence? Awesome eh?. Bear with me, bare with me? Whatever... too busy thinking to check which is right here!

My working theory is largely developed from Face Book posts and conversations with a wide number of people in a bunch of different sports. So it probably has little, or maybe even no merit. But it's got my brain working. So maybe it will trigger some thought for you that will make sense; or help you think through your attitude in times or triumph or despair. (Let's be real - if you stick with a sport long enough - either showing or training you will likely get both ends of the spectrum!)

It seems that people who see their world in segments are less likely to be able to see the big picture and the value that can come from errors and mistakes, Their goals are tied to specific events and frustration with themselves and their partner builds with each failure to achieve whatever their goal is. 

Each mistake or frustration leads to another and the cycle of stress and unhappiness continues to spiral down down down .. the flames get higher and higher and people give up. Either on themselves, the sport or their partner - all of which SUCK.

Big picture people get that a mistake is a chance to learn. A show is a place to test yourself. An imperfect partner is teaching you more than a perfect partner ever could.

and there you have it - random musings as I try to avoid thinking about the coming winter! 

Thursday, November 06, 2014

eight years later ...

just a little over 8 years later and Sally celebrated her anniversary here by running with 10 other dogs ... she got a turkey neck... it was, in Sally terms, a very good anniversary.

It's impossible to imagine it was just eight years ago, and impossible to imagine it was only eight years ago that I first met Sally. The Thursday before Thanksgiving weekend she had been adopted into a fabulous home to be a second dog to a lovely couple. Their house was in behind Toronto's Seneca College and they were so excited to meet Sally. I quite honestly can't remember if I dropped her off or not. I suspect I did as I was so excited for Sally (Daisy at the time) and optimistic that this quiet little puppy would be a great fit for this amazing couple.

By Monday the adopters were hysterical. The puppy wouldn't eat, or play, or do any normal puppy things. They were terrified she was going to die. They begged the rescue I worked with to take her back. Instantly. Faster than instantly actually. I remember having to put them off an hour or two to finish some Thanksgiving something then driving up fully expecting to talk them through feeding little puppies. One look at Sally and I knew she was coming home for vetting the next day if she made it through the night. I was sure the puppy was dying.

I hugged them and thanked them for caring enough to do what had to be done and alked out the door, unknowingly starting a journey I had couldn't imagine.

Sally came to school with me - hidden in a crate under my desk I seriously thought about how I could go on leave to care for her. I took her to the vet after work and she thought the puppy was dying. My orders? Take her home and do what we did best. Give her palliative supportive care and report in daily.

Luckily my immediate supervisor had a huge heart - and loved dogs (in fact he had adopted William Wallace, another sad sack puppy, from me a few years previously). Sally was at work every day until after our Christmas holiday. Just over two months under my desk in a little bed.  She ate home cooked meals every two hours, around the clock for two weeks then gradually I started extending the night time hours - eventually getting her to 6 hours at night.

She was always so brave. She was always happy to see people and she was a total heart thief. It was a few weeks in that Big T announced the puppy would be known as Sally, would live, and was staying with us. He felt strongly that knowing she was loved was going to be what pulled her through. It seems he was right.

Much of her journey after she made the one year mark is in this blog. Life with Sally is not easy. But it is always adventurous.  That she has made the 8 year mark is simply astounding. Sally is Sally. Will always be Sally. Such a special girl.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Going on a Lion Hunt ...

No not literally - it's a line from an old camp song

gotta go under it
gotta go through it
gotta go over it

are all other bits of the song ....

sometimes you just gotta go outside the ring to refocus and figure stuff out... BLOGGER DAY today - YAY! Click there or here if you prefer to get lots of links to lots of people's blogs on the subject.

Any long term reader of this blog will know my life works in this pattern - play, play play  whoops I mean train, train,  compete, have the wheels on the competing bus fall off (illness in family, self, canine partner, build a house, run a farm, get a new job and so on and so on) and repeat cycle ... multiple times over the last 8 years in fact. Now I live where trials are all over 2 hours away and I can't easily be gone from home for more than five hours. Challenging.

I spend way way more time outside the ring playing working really hard than we do competing. There are some super cool benefits to this which I would encourage anybody who wants to maximize the opportunities outside the ring to take advantage of

The dogs are fit.  Not just ring fit but truly well conditioned  athletes - our playground means they swim, go up and over, under and through on a daily basis. They work their wind and muscles at least briefly every day.
Blind and deaf Brody still believes daily exercise is a key component in a happy life.

The dogs are keen. Sally and Thea got to play agility last week when we had guests. It's been at least a full year maybe a little more since Thea has seen a dog walk. More than that since a teeter. Two visits to the agility field and BOOM Thea was begging to do more. Ended up putting a teeter back on the girl. Crazy.
Sally is always keen. I likely would not be embarrassed to run her (running me is another matter) at a trial tomorrow. Yes some of her skills have faded a little. I had to actually move with her the first time I sent her to the aframe from 30 feet ...I didn't need to move the next time tho. Just a tiny bit of practice and she's ready to rock and roll. Sally and her brother Duncan waiting their turn for something or other:

The young ones are always keen to learn more, more, more. Short bouts of infrequent play have them begging to be the chosen one for just about anything.

The dogs love trying new stuff. Scenting, my pathetic efforts at heeling, going for car rides, playing crate games or recall games - whatever.

It sounds trite but, for me anyhow, the joy in life is the journey. Getting outside the ring and focusing on having fit, happy, healthy teams is critical to me being able to enjoy the competitions I can get to. Yah it's lovely having titles adn yah I am very proud of the work the dogs do (see all the Saving Dinah, or nationals or regionals posts if you doubt that) but if I am proud of anything personally (and I'm not much given to pride) it's that the dogs are all around athletes leading as happy a life as I can provide. Being able to build a house at the worlds biggest dog park and do all kinds of very dog directed things here (fenced yard, dog wash, flooring choices, location of house choice etc) has been very exciting and rewarding.

The ring will call me again soon - she's exerting a siren pull of late - but it likely won't be a long relationship til something else bounces up to distract me for awhile. In the meantime the dogs and I will continue having fun.

(On a slightly divergent note I'm setting up a general dog sport club - how's "The Ribbon Factory" sound?)

Monday, August 18, 2014

May I please ...

... age as gracefully as Brody. Ever the good sport.

His vision is nearly gone, his hearing is truly diminished (he even misses the food cupboard opening!) and when we walk together it's my job to stay with him - a total role reversal of the last 13 + years.

He may feel an ache, a pain, a momentary lapse of awareness but he doesn't let it get him down. Sometimes he has to stay home and he is pretty expressive about telling us he could keep up if we'd give him a chance.

Brody is learning to woof and ask for help if he gets stuck - or can't find me. I have learned to listen for him.

He still hates being groomed, still insists on finding burrs. He's still Brody.

When he knows where we are going he still bombs ahead with tail flagging madly and there is nothing he loves more than getting a little job to do.

I wish all dogs could retire as well.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Trying a little something ....

I have written a lot about the mental game of agility .. the mental game of training and competing in a broader context too ...
I am launching an online course on Mind Matters to help people understand the way their minds work and influence their relationships with animals. A huge component will be dealing with stress in training and showing too. I've been letting this percolate for a very very long time and am very excited by the way the pieces fell into place.

The rough syllabus looks like this - tho it's adaptable - and people who have signed up have already made great additions to it

Identifying your style – learning, personality, introversion; how to use what you learn in your life 
Planning for success ; Training for Success;  Understanding the brain and it's influence - keeping your brain as healthy as possible 
Finding Focus; Training for Failure; Memory and its role in success - making courses and plans work for you
Identifying  the concerns;  Coping techniques:  visualization, mantras and keywords; what to do if and when it gets derailed
Creating your Personal Plan, Filling in the little details, Testing Your Plan, Revising Your Plan, Doing your plan
Making it all work for you: short, medium and long term; Different Types of Healthy Goal Setting
plus whatever other amazing things get added in by students and myself 

There will be lots of case studies, discussions of research ( I am a total brain research nerd!) and time to consider individual issues, book and article reviews and discussion as well as lectures and assignments. With two awesome folks lined up to give their own unique feedback, amazing students already signed up and my brain exploding with additions to the course

My goal now is to have a small in person workshop in the fall too but it would be amazing if people who wanted to come to that did the front end work on line-  there is a lot that will work really well with this format  with a seminar in person as follow up.

I'm excited! If you are interested in joining in let me know and I'll get you the info - as it's a first time using this format it's a very reasonable cost too!

Monday, June 16, 2014


oh Sally you are so fine

so fun

so gorgeous

so talented

TTL photo


such a good teacher

8 years old today(ish) and 7.5 years older  then anybody thought possible

I will never be able to thank the dream team who made it possible to get to here enough - Big T, Mum,  the Aseolites who loved you to life, Dr A, Shelly and her team, and Monica Segal.

Happy Birthday Baby

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

In every failure lies success ...

...but sometimes admitting to the failure or finding the success in it is challenging (to be polite). DBAD TODAY! the topic is success - check here for much more succinct and important posts on the topic . I have yet to miss a Dog Agility Bloggers Action Day though so figured I ought to weigh in. 

As my favourite statesman Winston Churchill said "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." He also sagely said "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." I personally suspect the optimist can find success more easily than the pessimist. (There's a Ph.D. in that topic I bet)

But what a heck is success? I can't define yours - you can't define mine. I can't even tell you for sure how Brody defines success tho I am pretty sure there are a whole lot of cookies in his mental image of it. My definition changes.  Yours probably should too. This year agility success might involve getting all my equipment set up and playing agility at home. In 2008 it involved winning a national title. Range is good. Variation is the spice of life. 

Another, tangentially related point I have addressed before is that  success with one dog may not be success with another dog. Having Sam do a short successive series of jumps and tunnels is success for us. Running clean and fast and happy over a masters level course is success for us. Success for Dora is keeping it somewhat together for a day. Success for her brother Gade is a title/ 

As I processed this topic a warped line from a song kept running through my head. "Success what is it good for? Absolutely NOTHING". Not quite true perhaps - but it certainly doesn't have to be the driving force (at least in the traditional, how everyone around you defines it sense of the word). Define your success. Develop a plan to achieve it. Use "failures" as stepping stones to it. Be prepared to redefine it and rewrite the plan as needed. Enjoy YOUR success! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

What kind of trainer are you?

ALL the quizzes.

All over facebook:
What kind of storm are you?
What's your best feature?
What's your spirit animal?

You get the drift.

It made me think what a great quiz what kind of trainer are you would be.

What adjectives would you apply to yourself? To trainers you'd like to emulate? If they are different words consider why they are different. Here is a good place to put positive self talk into practice. You might say you are soft - another person might see you as kind. You might label yourself indecisive while someone else might see the same trait as willing to experiment.

If you aren't seeing yourself in a positive light have a good hard look at the words you have chosen. What is the best  aspect of the word you have chosen? How can you build on that aspect until you feel more positive about your word choice?

Let's say I call myself lazy as a trainer. (Actually I tend to think of myself as a lazy trainer). What's the plus to being lazy? Training sessions are short and sweet. I don't want to waste time or energy so I put a plan in place before I start work. I set goals for the vast majority of sessions, and as I don't want to repeat things needlessly I take either pen and paper or mental notes on how things go. See? I'm not lazy. I'm efficient. Truth!

So what kind of trainers are there? The list is endless - but here's my take on just three types. See yourself? See other people? (and here I'm going to pretend that only positive or at least mostly positive trainers exist in the world - my blog - my rules)

The superstar trainer.  They get the fine art of training. The science. They may tackle issues in different ways and have different areas of expertise but they are superstars in their own right. The superstardom may be local, national or international but they are magnets. They attract people and can make you BELIEVE.

The hard working pet dog trainer. They have a school, or not. They do stuff with their dogs, or not. They get frustrated by the same old same old issues and the people who think they can teach everything their puppy needs to know in one hour once a week in a group class.

The personal trainer. They have purpose but life sometimes gets in the way. They play sport(s) with their dog(s).  They like learning and they like teaching. Some are better than others. Some are more competitive than others. But they have commonalities. They take classes. Often with superstar trainers. Often with a variety of superstar trainers. They can get a bit desperate at times trying to achieve sometimes elusive success. They often work hard in spurts. Consistency can be missing at times.

All good people. All doing good things. All with laudable individual characteristics.

What kind of trainer are YOU? What kind of trainer do you want to be?
The first step to getting there is figuring out where you are now.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I really otta teach more

Today I hosted a smelly workshop at the barn ... such a good environment to gently test commitment  - pigs, horses, cattle, chickens ... you name it they can smell it. So far the dogs in all four workshops have come, had a look around and acclimated very quickly. Every dog has worked scent though not always as well as in a familiar place.

I love groups like this - dogs know the game, handlers know the game but teams need a confidence boost and a reminder about what I think are the fundamentals (timing and reward placement). We did a handling circle, then a double row, then a room search in a tack room. The group brought lunch - so so yummy and generous of them! Then we went back to work introducing the vehicle search.

As usual I started simply with a very obvious find on a very simple wagon. Then we moved onto the old tractor and finished with a horse trailer. SO MUCH FUN!

Monday, May 05, 2014

sometimes love hits you in the weirdest ways

So many wonderful dogs out there .. but one less today than yesterday.

photo was found on FB for human's Biz - DogGone Right!

My friends and family have amazing, talented dogs who make their heart sing  and I appreciate and enjoy them all .. sometimes though one gets a little bit of my heart and I'm not even sure how it happens. Every time I hear a loved pet has gone I am so very very sad for the people and families that lived with those dogs (or cats). Usually I feel sadness, pat my dogs, post a public commiseration and send a more personal heart felt one. (You may recall I have too much experience with grief).

I miss those dogs, but not the way I miss one I have lived with or taken care of for periods of time. Except sometimes. And those sometimes feel so very very awful I am grateful my response to friend's animal's deaths are not always as visceral. Today is one of those days (and there have been others - Killian, Mouche, Kaylie and more). The coolest doodle I have ever known, and I have known a fair few, is no more.

Molly is gone. Dead. Deceased. My grief is palpable and it shocks me.

Molly was a wonder dog - have no doubt of that. She also had a human of her own who adored her and played games with her. Molly didn't need me to love her. She had lots of love of her own. Likely even more love than some of the crew who have laid their head here. Molly had an Angel to play with and snooze with and smell all the good things together. Molly had a Good Life once she and her human connected.

My grief is partly selfish today. Understanding I won't see Molly again is beyond my comprehension right now. To imagine not throwing multiple balls for her (she and Wyn adored racing around chasing as many balls as I could throw) is unimaginable.

Be good to those you love. Visit those you love. Let those you love know you love them. Molly I wish I could wow you with ball throws just once more. I wish I could comfort your human in any way that would make a difference. Instead I will grieve your loss. What a good dog Molly.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Variety is the spice of life ...

so spice it up friends - spice it up!

Dog notices start lines?
use cones, use cinder blocks, use snooker flags, use tape on ground poles as a chute, whatever you cna think of that's different - use it!

Dog has only ever seen one kind of jump?
WHY? change it!
 use a flower box under it
 blocks on it
poles that aren't evenly set
a sweater over it
a tarp under it
use cones as standards
books as standards
chairs as standards
pool noodle poles
broom handle poles
stripy poles,
rope as poles
anything goes

whatever is takes - change it

change it safely but change it - don't leave an aframe in the middle of your ring all summer cause it's the easy place - either move the frame or move the ring ;)  (this is just as true for horses as dogs people!)

I want my animals asking how high, how hard, how far not what the heck is that.

If my at home versions are a little Red Green so be it. We all have fun.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Unicorns and Giggles and Real Life

Spring is in the air - the dogs and I are playing more, walking more and just generally enjoying life. One thing I am finding very peculiar about life now  is that even as I have more time potentially available to teach (and learn) the hard stuff with the dogs the ratio of play, training and walks stays about the same. 

Apparently all my posts about short intense play work were not me trying to feel better about the work I could fit in but actually really true. For me anyhow, short intense, planned training is the way to go. It is true we've added more dogs and Big T now works from home which limits the crazies a bit. It's 7 am and I'd DO SOMETHING but he's still asleep. 

Sally did a jump grid tunnel the other day and LOVED it. She, of all dogs, gets the happiest when training is on the horizon, 

The little dogs have been coming to the barn with me and getting a couple of chances a day to run like squirrels .. been playing with teaching Yen heel as I do this - pretty outrageous and chaotic but still lots of fun. I won't bore you with video - but it's silliness. Pure unadulterated silly. Sweet Arnold is now at the barn acclimating to piggy life - the dogs always go to visit with him. Pretty sweet stuff. 

Just pulled the first tick of the season off Yen. YUCK. Was so hoping the cold brutal winter would have killed them. Brody is matted and burred and in his vague senility even worse to groom than usual. Lucky us. 

All good. All normal. Getting ready to move - again. I hate moving but this is a pretty exciting move into a house built with the dogs and us  in mind.  A counter is going over the washer dryer located beside the dog wash  - should make grooming a whole lot easier I expect!